Distributive Singular/Plural

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Which one of the below sentences is correct?

Celebrities often face troubles maintaining the privacy of their lifestyles.

Celebrities often face troubles maintaining the privacy of their lifestyle.

I am always confused about the form of the object after the possessive plural pronoun, because I have read many sentences where the author uses just the singular form after the plural pronoun. What is the exact grammar behind this?

Lutfur Rahman

Posted 2019-03-26T08:19:41.627

Reputation: 394

Question was closed 2019-10-12T19:16:19.703

2Singular "lifestyle" is fine. In this use, "their" is a singular gender-neutral pronoun. – BillJ – 2019-03-26T08:43:44.123

1@BillJ Can you show that their is a singular pronoun there? Why does it have to be a singular, anyway? – None – 2019-03-26T09:21:17.330

1Their can be singular or plural. For some purposes it's always grammatically plural, of course. However, given the antecedent here is celebrities, it's semantically plural here, or at least can be. However, I'm fairly sure there's widespread usage of the singular in such cases, treating the referent as one of the many. – SamBC – 2019-03-26T10:13:19.493

Answers

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Either is acceptable, although it changes the meaning very slightly.

Celebrities often face troubles maintaining the privacy of their lifestyle.

Means that you are referring to one singular celebrity lifestyle that the people share or have in common.

Celebrities often face troubles maintaining the privacy of their lifestyles.

Means that regardless of lifestyle, it is difficult to keep privacy. In other words, celebrities may vary in lifestyle, but share the difficulty of maintaining privacy.

Friendly Racoon

Posted 2019-03-26T08:19:41.627

Reputation: 466